Features appear in each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcasing a variety of subjects from various periods and geographic locations in Pennsylvania.

It began rather humbly about a century ago in small western Pennsylva­nia towns, when former college players-longing for a taste of past glories – joined in community pick-up games. Yet professional football eventually exploded into a multi-million dollar sport that brought to its stadiums and playing fields throngs of frenzied and worshipful fans.

Both the Keystone State and adjacent Ohio were the hot beds of professional activity during football’s early years, with large cities and small towns fielding teams. Professional football traces its origin to Pittsburgh where on Saturday, November 12, 1892, William “Pudge” Heffelfinger was paid five hundred dollars by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club.

Philadelphia also fielded football teams in the early part of this century, sponsored by baseball clubs, the Philadel­phia Athletics and the Philadelphia Phillies. Teams were organized in the Pennsyl­vania communities of McKeesport, Conshohocken, Jeannette, Pitcairn, Latrobe, Greensburg, Coaldale, and Pottsville. By 1920, a league, the American Professional Football Association, was organized in Canton, Ohio, reorganized the following year, and in 1922 named the National Football League (NFL).

Philadelphia was first represented in the league in 1924 by the Frankford Yellowjackets. Two years later the team emerged as the champions of National Football League and attracted an ardent local following. By 1931 a difficult economy and dwindling spectator atten­dance forced the Frankford Yellowjackets to fold at the end of the season. Many other teams faced similar fates; of the thirty-one professional teams in 1926 only eight survived to 1932.

In 1933, taking advantage of a change in Pennsyl­vania’s law which had prohibited profes­sional sports events on Sunday, former University of Pennsylvania teammates Bert Bell and Lud Wray organized investors and purchased the Yellowjackets franchise for twenty-five hundred dollars. They christened the new team the Philadelphia Eagles in honor of the eagle symbolizing Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Recovery Adminis­tration. Bell assumed the duties of general manager while Wray served as coach. The son of Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Bert Bell had turned his back on a political career and opted, instead, for football. He had captained the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania’s football team in 1919, and later became an assistant coach for his alma mater and at Temple University. During his association with the Philadelphia Eagles, he would serve as the team’s coach, general manager, ticket sales­man, press agent, and auditor.

The Philadelphia Eagles opened their first season on Sunday, October 15, 1933, in New York against the Giants and lost, 56-0. Two more losses followed before the team claimed its first franchise win, a 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati. A week later – on the first Sunday of professional sports in Pennsyl­vania – nearly eighteen thousand fans saw the Eagles tie the 1932 and 1933 National Football League Champion Chicago Bears, 3-3, on a late field goal by Guy Turnbow. Victories over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and losses to Green Bay and New York, brought the team’s inaugural season to a close with a 3-5-1 record, and a fourth place finish among five teams in the Eastern Division. Former Temple University back Swede Hanson led the Eagles in scoring, rushing, and receiving.

The Eagles won only six games during the following two years. While the team was losing games, it was also plagued by financial worries, and suffered more than eighty thousand dollars in losses in just three seasons. Disen­chanted, Bell’s partners grew increasingly skeptical of their investment, and he purchased their shares, became sole owner of the team, and took over as head coach.

Earlier, Bert Bell had proposed a college draft to spread talent throughout the league, and because of the Eagles’ poor record in the previous season, the club chose first in 1936 and selected the University of Chicago’s Jay Berwanger, winner of the coveted Reisman Trophy. With financial concerns mounting, Bell traded the rights to Berwanger to the Chicago Bears, but Berwanger decided not to play profes­sional ball.

Bell found it no easier serving as head coach. After losing its first game with Bell at the helm, the team defeated the Giants in the 1936 home opener and then dropped ten straight to finish 1-11. His best season as head coach, in 1938, saw his team win five and lose six (with three of the losses by six points or less). His offen­sive stars were fullback Dave Smukler and ends Bill Hewitt and Joe Carter. Inspired by his success, the following year Bell signed All-American quarter­back Davey O’Brien, the five foot, seven inch, one hundred and fifty pounder who had played for Texas Christian University (TCU). Voted the country’s number one college player in 1938, when TCU won the national title, O’Brien signed for twelve thousand dollars, plus a percentage of ticket revenues. Bert Bell even insured his prized player with Lloyds of London. For every game O’Brien missed because of injury, the insurance policy guaranteed the Eagles fifteen hundred dollars. Despite his small size, O’Brien set several records and never missed a game. However, he won only two games in two seasons before retiring to join the Federal Bureau of Investiga­tion (FBI).

Although the Eagles continued to play several games at Municipal Stadium, in 1940 the team officially moved its home field to Shibe Park. During the first six seasons the Eagles had played at a number of locations, including Munici­pal Stadium, Baker Bowl and Temple Stadium.

In 1941 Bert Bell gave up his beloved Philadelphia Eagles in a complicated deal that included selling half of his team to Art Rooney, who had sold the Pittsburgh Steelers to Alexis Thompson of New York. Before the season began, another move involved Bell and Rooney trading the Eagles to Thompson for the Pitts­burgh franchise in what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called “one of the most unusual swaps in sports history.” While each franchise had a new owner, the Pittsburgh players came to Philadelphia and the Eagles squad became Steelers. Bell later served thirteen years as commissioner of the National Football League. He died of a heart attack during the Eagles-­Steelers game in Philadelphia in October 1959.

The World War II years caused financial, staffing, and recruiting problems throughout the league as many veteran players and prospective players joined the armed services. To keep their teams active in 1943, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh merged as the Phil-Pitt Steagles. The team enjoyed a 5-4-1 season, finishing only one game out of first place in the league’s Eastern Division.

Upon his acquisition of the Eagles, Alexis Thompson made changes that would begin to lay the groundwork for not only several winning seasons but some champion­ships as well. Thompson’s first move was to hire Earle “Greasy” Neale as head coach. Neale had more than thirty vigorous years of experience, including stints as coach at Virginia, West Virginia and Yale universities. In 1922, his team at tiny Washington and Jefferson College in Washing­ton, Pennsylvania, went to the Rose Bowl and played the University of California’s mighty Golden Bears to a scoreless tie (see “Pennsylvania Gridiron: Washington & Jefferson College’s First Century of Football” by E. Lee North in the fall 1990 issue). Neale was fascinated by the Chicago Bears’ successful use of the T-formation and decided to institute it in Philadelphia. Building his offense around Tommy Thompson, the one­eyed quarterback from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and his wartime replacement Roy Zimmerman, Neale discovered a way to improve the execution of the “T.” Although not a runner, Thompson was a good team leader, a fine passer, and was eventually able to make the team’s offense work. In 1944, the Eagles finished at 7-1-2, the club’s best record ever, and just missed winning the Eastern Division championship. In four seasons Neale had turned the team around with the addition of several key players, includ­ing lineman Vic Sears, Al Wistert, and Temple graduate Bucko Kilroy. The most notable addition was hard-hitting back Steve Van Buren.

A first round draft pick out of Louisiana State University, the powerful Van Buren combined strength with speed and was as good at straight ahead running as he was in the open field. Later a Pro-Football Hall of Famer, he led the league in rushing in 1945, 1947, 1948, and 1949, and still holds several Eagles team records, including the most touch­downs in a season (eighteen in 1945) and the most yards gained in a single game (205 against Pittsburgh in 1949).

While continuing to strengthen the lineup, the Eagles again finished second in the Eastern Division in 1945 and 1946. End Jack Ferrante had become the Eagles’ top receiver; the team traded to obtain veteran center and linebacker Alex Wojciechowicz; the backfields were reinforced by fullback­-punter Joe Muha, halfback Bosh Pritchard, and defensive back Russ Craft; and the team signed Cliff Patton to do the place kicking. Muha led the league in 1948 with a 47.2 yard punting average and Patton was the National Football League’s best kicker, convert­ing fifty of fifty extra points and eight of twelve attempted field goals. Wojciechowicz was eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In 1947, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Pete Pihos, a rookie fullback from Indiana. Coach Neale moved him to end to complete his offensive scheme and at the same time to take advantage of this blocking and pass catching abilities. Finally, the Eagles’ offense began to jell. The defense, too, toughened as Neale’s 5-2-4 alignment became known throughout the league as the “Eagle.” The team went 8-4 and won its first Eastern Division title by defeating Pittsburgh, 21-0, in a December playoff. A week later the Eagles challenged the Chicago Cardinals at an icy Comiskey Park in the first of three successive National Football League championship appearances. The weather was a factor in each of the contests. Chicago’s frozen field, it was feared, posed footing problems and the Eagles sharpened their cleats for better traction while the Cardinals wore sneakers. The Eagles were penalized for illegal equipment and forced to switch to flat soled shoes. Falling behind early, the Eagles never led as the icy conditions stifled Van Buren who gained just twenty-six yards on eighteen carries. While the field conditions did not seem to hinder Chicago, the Cards developed a plan to destroy the Eagle defense and scored twice on long runs up the middle. Philadelphia scored when Tommy Thomp­son hit Pat McHugh with a seventy yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7 at half­time. The Eagles hoped to get back into the game in the third quarter but the Cardinal’s Charlie Trippi scored on a seventy-five yard punt return to make the score 21-7. Late in the third quarter, Van Buren’s touchdown brought the Eagles to within seven points, but Elmer Angsman’s second seventy yard touchdown run of the day in the final period gave the Chicago Cardinals the championship, 28-21.

The following season the Eagles repeated as Eastern champs and faced a rematch with the Cardinals for the title. The game was played at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park despite a heavy snowstorm. Players helped remove a tarpaulin from the field just before the kickoff; however, the persistent snowfall all but obliterated the yard markers and sidelines, making first down and out of bounds plays sheer judgment calls by the officials. The Eagles first play from scrimmage was a sixty­-five yard scoring toss from Thompson to Ferrante, but the fans were disappointed when an offsides penalty brought the ball back. As the game continued, snow kept falling and eventually covered the field. It became apparent that passing with any success was out of the question. Together, both teams managed only five completions in twenty-three attempts for a total of forty­-two yards! The first half ended scoreless with each team missing a field goal. Near the end of the third quarter, the Eagles had a break when Chicago fumbled on its own 17 yard line. Four plays later in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, Van Buren scored from five yards out. Cliff Patton added the extra point and the Eagles won their first World Championship, 7-0. (Early that morning, Steve Van Buren, thinking that the game would be cancelled because of the snowstorm, returned to bed. He was summoned by an urgent telephone call and hurried by trolley and on foot to the stadium for the game, during which he racked up ninety-eight yards on twenty­-three carries – and the game’s only touchdown.)

A syndicate of one hundred Philadelphia area businessmen purchased the Eagles in early 1949 from owner Alexis Thompson. Despite the team’s success on the field, the club was financially a losing proposition. The purchase, however, assured local ownership and prevented the team from moving to another city. The following autumn, the Eagles posted the best season to date with eleven wins and one loss, and added University of Pennsylvania’s All-American center-line­backer Chuck Bednarik to the roster. While snow and ice marred the Eagles’ first two championship encounters, heavy rain turned the field into a pool of slippery mud for the 1949 title game against the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Eagles took a 7-0 half-time lead on a thirty-one yard pass play from Tommy Thompson to Pete Pihos. In the third period rookie end Leo Skladany blocked a punt for a touchdown and Philadelphia went on to win its second consecutive championship, 14-0. Steve Van Buren’s rushing once again carried the day, as he set a National Football League record with one hundred and ninety-six yards yards on thirty-one carries. With this victory the Philadelphia Eagles became the only team in NFL history – before or since – to win back-to-back champion­ships by holding opponents scoreless.

The era following World War II witnessed significant changes in professional football. Most teams struggled financially. The All-America Football Conference was formed and eventually merged with the National Football League. African American players joined the League. Pro­football was the first major league sport played on the West Coast as teams found homes in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But the greatest change occurred in the 1950s when television boosted professional football to rival baseball as the nation’s pastime.

Bickering over players’ salaries, an injury to Steve Van Buren, and an opening day loss to the Cleveland Browns (newcomers to the NFL from the defunct All­America Football Conference) signaled the decline of the Philadelphia Eagles. Tommy Thompson retired after the 1950 season, Coach Neale was fired the following year, and a knee injury ended Van Buren’s career during training camp in 1952. From 1950 to 1958 the Philadelphia Eagles had six coaches and only three winning seasons.

While some promising new players – Clarence Peaks, Billy Barnes, Sonny Jurgensen and Tommy McDonald – donned Eagles uniforms in 1957, it was the hiring of former San Francisco 49ers’ coach Buck Shaw at the opening of the following season that pointed Philadelphia toward another championship. Although impressed with Sonny Jurgensen, Shaw believed that the Eagles needed an experi­enced player at quarterback to be able to win in the near future. The Eagles organiza­tion engineered a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for veteran quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, providing two Philadelphia teammates and a first round draft pick in exchange. The explosive Norm Van Brocklin demonstrated strong leadership and was an excellent passer. Shaw teamed him with the speedy McDonald at flanker and Pete Retzlaff and Bobby Walston at the split ends. The result was outstanding. In Shaw’s first season, the team moved its home field from Connie Mack Stadium (formerly Shibe Park) to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field and, although increasing attendance, finished in last place. A year later the Eagles won six of eight games to challenge for the conference lead and ended the season in a tie for second place and the first winning record since 1954.

After an opening day loss in 1960, Shaw’s club won nine straight, finished at 10-2, and clinched the Eastern Division title. Playing for the third World Championship in Philadelphia, the Eagles faced the Green Bay Packers at Franklin Field the day after Christmas. Green Bay jumped out to a 6-0 lead on two Paul Horning field goals; both teams displayed defensive strength. In the second quarter, Philadelphia scored a touch­down to take the lead when Van Brocklin hit McDonald in the end zone with a thirty-five yard pass. When Bobby Walston kicked a fifteen yard field goal, the Eagles increased their lead to 10-6 at half-time. Defense reigned once again in the third period, but early in the fourth the Packers culmi­nated a long drive with a touchdown and led, 13-10. Seven plays later the Eagles regained the lead on a five yard Ted Dean touchdown run. The last possession of the game had the Packers driving deep into Eagles territory and threatening to score. On the final play, Chuck Bednarik tackled Jim Taylor at the Eagles’ nine yard line and preserved the club’s trium­phant “come-from-behind” victory of 17-13.

While the successful season was the result of concerted team effort, Chuck Bednarik and Norm Van Brockliu stood out. The thirty-five year old Bednarik, who would play two more seasons after the champi­onship, was brilliant as center and linebacker in a number of regular season games, as well as the title game. A legend in his own time, he became known as the “last of the sixty minute men” because he played both offense and defense. Described by Mickey Herskowitz in The Golden Age of Pro Football: NFL Football in the 1950s as “tougher than a leather helmet,” Bednarik was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Van Brocklin, who retired after the championship game, passed for 2,471 yards and twenty­-four touchdowns for the year and was named the NFL’s most valuable player for 1960. (Eleven years later he was awarded a place in the Hall of Fame.) Even though elated by the stunning 1960 victory, Buck Shaw announced his retirement, ending a coaching career that spanned thirty-nine years.

Unlike the previous season, 1961 was not so promising a year for the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite ten wins and four losses, in addition to a record setting season by Sonny Jurgensen, the Eagles finished in second place in what would be the club’s best showing for many years to come. During the following sixteen years, Philadelphia would post just one winning season under six head coaches and three owners. Stars players Timmy Brown, Norm Snead, Bob Brown, Maxie Baughan, Tom Woodeshick, Harold Jackson, and Roman Gabriel seemed to vanish in seasons during which the team won only two or three games in a fourteen game schedule.

During this dismal period, some interesting events did take place, including one of the most electrifying games in the Eagles’ history. In 1966, Timmy Brown returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as the Eagles upset the divisional champion, Dallas, 24-23. Two years later, however, the Eagles won when the fans actually wanted the team to lose. After going winless in the first eleven games, Philadel­phia fans hoped the team would finish with the worst record in the league in order to draft O. J. Simpson, the All­-American running back from the University of Southern California. But it was not to be. After winning two of its last three games, the team finished ahead of Buffalo who selected Simpson as the first player in the draft. Fans organized a “Joe Must Go” campaign to dump coach Joe Kuharich, rand for the final game of the season hired a skywriter to script the message in the sky above Franklin Field. The fans’ wish was granted as Kuharich was released. In 1971, the Philadel­phia Eagles moved to a new home at Veterans Stadium, but it did not seem to help as the club won only six of fourteen games.

While the sixties were, for the most part, disappointing for the Eagles, pro-football experienced tremendous growth and development. The American Football League (AFL) began to play in eight different cities and the National Football League expanded to include Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Both leagues also signed network television contracts, guarantee­ing revenue for all teams. On June 8, 1966, the AFL and the NFL announced a merger and agreed to a championship game that would become known as the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose hired the intense and often emotional Dick Vermeil in 1976 to become the team’s fourteenth head coach. He had attracted national attention at the beginning of the year as his UCLA team scored an upset over top­-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Vermeil announced that “it would take at least five years” for the franchise to make an impact and immedi­ately went to work crafting a new team. Building on quality veterans, Vermeil traded and drafted his way into conten­tion. The offense was built around quarterback Ron Jaworski, running back Wilbert Montgomery, wide receiver Harold Carmichael, and barefoot kicker Tony Franklin. He anchored the defense with linebacker Bill Bergey. By 1978, Vermeil’s team qualified for the playoffs and two years later made it to the Super Bowl. The Eagles opened the 1980 season with three impressive victories by outscoring their opponents 104 to 16. After a loss to St. Louis the team had won eight straight, locked up a playoff berth, and claimed the best record in the league, 11-1, with four scheduled games remain­ing. Despite losing two close games to the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers, both first place teams in other divisions, and falling to Dallas in the final regular season contest, the Philadelphia Eagles ended at 12-4 and won the Eastern Division crown.

In the first round of the playoffs the Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 31-16, to advance to the conference championship. The National Football Conference Championship game pitted Philadelphia against Eastern Division rival, the Dallas Cowboys, at Veterans Sta­dium. While the Cowboys had played in many important games, the Eagles were serious about winning and good fortune seemed to favor the team. Philadelphia received the opening kickoff and two plays later Wilbert Montgom­ery dashed forty-two yards for a touchdown. The Cowboys scored in the second quarter to tie the game at seven, at which point the half ended. With the temperature near zero, the Dallas Cowboys found it difficult to hang on to the ball and lost three fumbles. Two of the turnovers were costly as a twenty-six yard field goal by Tony Franklin and a touch­down run by Leroy Harris gave the Eagles the lead, 17-7. With momentum on its side the Philadelphia team shut down the Dallas offense for the entire second half, added a fourth quarter field goal, and won the championship, 20-7. Montgomery ran for one hundred and ninety-four yards, just two short of Steve Van Buren’s 1949 playoff record, and the City of Philadelphia exploded with jubilation because its team was headed – at long last – to its first Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XV was played in New Orleans on January 25, 1981, a game in which the Philadelphia Eagles challenged the Oakland Raiders, the touted champions of the American Football Conference. Although slightly favored to win, the Eagles trailed 14-3 at half-time and 24-3 at the end of the third quarter. The final score was Oakland, 27, Philadelphia, 10. While the Eagles had defeated the Raiders 10-7 during the regular season, Oakland dominated the game. Many spectators believed than emotionally the Eagles had already won a private super bowl when the team defeated the Cowboys two weeks earlier. Disgruntled fans claimed the Eagles had peaked too soon.

While the Eagles’ rise to the top during the late 1970s was sweet, the Super Bowl loss was a grave disappointment. Dick Vermeil quit coaching in 1982 after seven seasons at the helm, and the team attempted for three seasons, albeit unsuc­cessfully, to regain its old form under defensive coach Marion Campbell. In 1985, Leonard Tose sold the Philadelphia Eagles to Florida automobile dealer Norman Braman.

Norman Braman selected Buddy Ryan, the defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, as head coach. Ryan’s controver­sial style created a stir in Philadelphia as he rebuilt his roster with young players and released several veterans. In his third season, the Eagles­ – led by all-pro defensive end Reggie White and scram­bling quarterback Randall Cunningham – captured the National Football Conference Eastern Division title. In an NFL divisional playoff, the Eagles traveled to Chicago to play Ryan’s old team. The game began in clear and cold conditions, but a thick fog moved in by half-time and shrouded the stadium for the entire second half, limiting visibility on the field. The Bears won the game, 20-12, in what would later be called the “fog bowl.”

Ryan’s Eagles made the playoffs for the next two seasons, losing in the first round each year. The team led both the league and the conference in a number of categories in 1990 and was attempting to take the next step toward the Super Bowl the following season when Ryan was replaced as head coach by the team’s offensive coordinator, Rich Kotite. In Kotite’s first year, the team posted a 10-6 record after losing Randall Cunningham for the year with a knee injury in the first game of the season. Five quarterbacks were used throughout the year, and the team struggled in mid season. The defense played superbly, finishing best in the league. Despite the record play they did not qualify for post-season competition.

In 1992, the Eagles’ sixtieth season, expectations ran high with the return of Cunningham and the off-season signing of veteran running back and Heisman Trophy winner Hershel Walker. Several weeks before the opening of training camp the team was stunned by the death of Jerome Brown in an automobile accident. The team dedicated its anniversary season to Brown, a two time pro-bowl player and defensive leader. The Eagles went on to win twelve games and lose six, the second highest win total in the franchise’s history. Success also awaited players in the first round of the playoffs as they defeated the New Orleans Saints in a spectacular 36-20 “come-from-behind” victory. Down 20-10 at the end of the third quarter, the Eagles scored twenty-six points in the fourth quarter to win. A week later the team was outplayed in every phase of the game and fell 34-10 to a young Dallas team, dashing any hopes of a Super Bowl appearance.

After sixty seasons, Philadelphia’s beloved Eagles have established a proud tradition and garnered a loyal following. Weathering good seasons and bad, the team played in five world champi­onship games and won three, including back-to-back victories, an accomplishment few organizations can claim. Although the Philadelphia Eagles’ anniversary year ended without a long awaited return to the Super Bowl, the sixty-first season approaches with a renewed sense of hope, among fans and players alike, that a championship can – and will – return to the City of Brotherly Love.


For Further Reading

Bennett, Tom, et al. The NFL’s Official Encyclopedia History of Professional Football. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1977.

Clary, Jack. Thirty Years of Pro Football’s Great Moments. New York: Rutledge Books, 1976.

Cohen, Richard M., Jordan A. Deutsch, and David S. Neft. The Scrapbook History of Pro Football, 1893-1979. Indianapo­lis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1979.

Curran, Bob. Pro Football’s Rag Days. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969.

Dolson, Frank. The Philadelphia Story. South Bend: Icarus Press, 1981.

Herskowitz, Mickey. The Golden Age of Pro Football: NFL Football in the 1950s. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1990.

McCallum, Jack, with Chuck Bednarik. Bednarik, Last of the Sixty Minute Men. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The Football Encyclo­pedia The Complete History of Professional NFL Football from 1892 To The Present. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

Sullivan, George. Pro Football’s All-Time Greats. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1968.


The author wishes to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of Decker Uhlorn and Jim Gallagher of the Philadelphia Eagles organization.


Kurt D. Zwikl has served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commis­sion since 1988. A former six-term member of the Pennsyl­vania House of Representatives, he is currently vice president of public affairs and government for First Fidelity Bank in Allentown. The author is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University and received n master’s degree in American history from Lehigh University. He has written several pieces on state and local history, including “The Political Ascent of James Buchanan,” which appeared in the spring 1991 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage. As a result of his research, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commis­sion erected a state historical marker in Pittsburgh in 1992 to commemorate the first profes­sional football game played in the United States.